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The Rolex Yacht-Master is the brand’s dressiest sports watch collection, perfectly balancing sporty appeal and luxurious details. Whether you’re unfamiliar with this particular nautical-inspired watch collection or just want a refresher, here are five things to know about the Rolex Yacht-Master.

The Rolex Yacht-Master

1. The Rolex Yacht-Master Watch Is Less Than 30 Years Old

Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master in 1992. While the watch had a similar design blueprint to the Submariner, it was targeted more towards the jet-set yachting crowd rather than the diving crowd. As such, to emphasize the luxuriousness of the Yacht-Master, the first reference was fashioned entirely in gold. From its 40mm case to its rotating timing bezel to its Oyster bracelet, the Yacht-Master ref. 16628 glistened in the sun thanks to its solid 18k yellow gold construction.

Rolex Yacht-Master Yellow Gold

Other sizes and materials soon joined the Yacht-Master collection. Yet that very first version clearly signaled that the Yacht-Master was first and foremost a luxury Rolex watch that also offered a sporty design.

In regards to functionality, the Yacht-Master is a time and date Rolex watch featuring a trio of hands at the center of the dial along with a date window at 3 o’clock magnified by the ubiquitous Cyclops lens. The watch also benefits from a bi-directional bezel graduated to 60 minutes, which can be used to time events. Finally, the Yacht-Master is water-resistant to 100 meters (330 feet) and runs on an automatic mechanical movement.

2. Rolex Has Made Five Yacht-Master Sizes

Over the course of the Yacht-Master history, Rolex has offered five sizes–some of which have since been discontinued.

  • 40mm Yacht-Master: 1992 – present
  • 35mm Yacht-Master: 1994 – 2015
  • 29mm Yacht-Master: 1994 – 2015
  • 37mm Yacht-Master: 2015 – present
  • 42mm Yacht-Master: 2019 – present

In 2015, Rolex discontinued the ladies’ 29mm and midsize 35mm versions of the Yacht-Master and replaced both with the Yacht-Master 37. Then, in 2019, Rolex launched the largest Yacht-Master to date with a 42mm case size. The Yacht-Master 42 is currently only available in 18k white gold. However, Rolex will most likely offer other case metals in that size in the near future.

3. Rolesium Is Exclusive To The Yacht-Master Collection

In 1999, Rolex announced a new material option the company called Rolesium. While Rolesor is the name Rolex gives to its watches that bring together stainless steel and gold, Rolesium denotes a watch that includes stainless steel and platinum components.

A Rolesium Yacht-Master features a stainless steel case and bracelet paired with a full platinum bezel. The Yacht-Master is the only Rolex watch collection to include both stainless steel and platinum parts. Some Rolesium Yacht-Master watches also include a sandblasted platinum dial, which is known to capture the light beautifully.

Rolesium Yacht-Master reference numbers always end in the number “2.” such as the ref. 16622, ref. 69622, ref. 68622, ref. 268622, and so on.

4. The Yacht-Master Debuted the Oysterflex Bracelet

It is not often that Rolex releases an entirely new bracelet style but in 2015, the company did just that with the introduction of the Oysterflex bracelet. Rather than just a regular rubber strap, the Oysterflex bracelet’s black rubber exterior houses an internal metal blade for shape retention. What’s more, Rolex also added wing-like details to the underside of the bracelet to ensure optimal airflow around the rubber surface.

The Oysterflex bracelets of the Yacht-Master watches

The Everose Gold Yacht-Master with a black ceramic bezel was the first watch to feature the Oysterflex bracelet, both in 40mm and 37mm sizes. Rolex has since rolled out the bracelet the Daytona as well, but it was the Yacht-Master that was selected to debut this innovative rubber Rolex. bracelet.

5. The Yacht-Master is Rolex’s Most Varied Watch Collection

While the Yacht-Master is one of Rolex’s youngest watch collection at less than three decades old, it is in fact the brand’s most varied in terms of materials. It is the collection that uses (almost) every material Rolex has in its arsenal–stainless steel, gold, platinum, ceramic, rubber, and precious gems! The only material missing is leather.

  • Yellow Gold Yacht-Master (discontinued)
  • White Gold Yacht-Master with Ceramic Bezel
  • Everose Gold Yacht-Master with Ceramic Bezel
  • Yellow Rolesor Yacht-Master in Steel and Yellow Gold (discontinued)
  • Everose Rolesor Yacht-Master in Steel and Everose Gold
  • Rolesium Yacht-Master in Steel with Platinum Bezel
  • Everose Gold Yacht-Master with Sapphire and Diamond Bezel

Couple the material options with all the different sizes, and you have a fantastic assortment of Yacht-Master models to choose from. So the next time you’re in the market for a pre-owned Rolex sports watch, turn to the Yacht-Master lineup of discontinued and current references and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how many variations are available.

Written by

Celine Simon

Celine is a freelance luxury watch writer who has enjoyed working in the horology industry for over ten years. Like many of the high-end timepieces she writes about, she comes from Switzerland—the heart of fine watchmaking. From Singapore to Montreal to Geneva to Dubai, Celine has lived all over the world but now calls Southern California home.